MLB Week

July 30, 2006

A scout's take

On John Maine, former Oriole and current New York Mets 25-year-old right-hander

Fastball -- The one thing I have noticed on him is his velocity has increased a lot. He used to be 89-92 mph with his fastball. Now he is pitching 92-94. He's never had blow-away stuff like [Daniel] Cabrera or [Erik] Bedard, but he's actually throwing the ball 92, 93 consistently now, and that makes his other stuff more effective.

Ability -- He's always had command. He threw strikes, but his fastball was always hittable. What he is doing now is throwing it on both sides of the plate. His breaking pitch is sharper and he locates it better and he has a better feel for his changeup. His delivery can be deceptive. He has stepped it up across the board.

Overall -- He has done a lot better than I thought he would do. He's done a good job. I think the team he is playing with has a little to do with it, too. They score a lot of runs and play great defense behind him. That's got to pump him up, though he's always been a low-key guy, not rah-rah or demonstrative on the mound.

Note -- "A scout's take" features one major league scout's opinion on a particular player each week. A revolving roundtable of scouts is used. Because of potential tampering, the scouts are anonymous.

Say what?

"I played with all three. I forced two into retirement and maybe the third. I could be the answer to a trivia question."

San Francisco Giants reliever Steve Kline, a former Oriole, about being a teammate of single-season homer leaders Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

Numbing number

42

How old Barry Bonds turned last Monday. Bonds needs 34 homers to pass Hank Aaron on the all-time list. The only player with 34 or more homers after age 42 is Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk, though the Mets' Julio Franco has 30 and counting. Aaron hit 10 after turning 42.

What's up?

Tomorrow's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline likely will be the week's highlight. The Orioles continue a long homestand with the Seattle Mariners here through Wednesday and the New York Yankees coming in Friday. The best American League showdown has the Los Angeles Angels hosting division rivals Oakland and Texas. In the National League, the Atlanta Braves play three in Cincinnati starting Friday in a series that could have wild-card ramifications.

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